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Thornton, Colorado, USA
UpdatedSat, 20-Sep-2014 10:00pm MDT 
 

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The Big Freeze – Snow and Arctic cold to be main Thornton weather feature

Monday, January 31st, 2011 7:10am MDT
CDOT snowplows on I-25

CDOT snowplows work on I-25 near 104th Avenue Monday afternoon. Arctic cold will be a major hazard as wind chills could dip to 35 degrees below zero over the next 36 hours. (ThorntonWeather.com)

Storm update, 4:30pm - The thermometer only knows one way through the rest of today and tonight – down!  Thus far Thornton has dipped to 6 degrees with wind chill values around -3 and it is far from done dropping.

The National Weather Service has modified the weather warnings / watches for the next 12 hours or so.  The Winter Weather Advisory for snow will continue through midnight.  New however is a Wind Chill Warning that will be in effect from midnight through 6:00am Wednesday.

In terms of snow we will continue to see a pretty steady stream of light snowfall through the extended period but accumulations will be light.  Most areas will see a couple inches additional accumulation with higher amounts south and west in the foothills and along the Palmer Divide. 

The cold continues to be the real story.  Temperatures overnight will be dropping to five below zero with some places possibly getting even colder.  Couple the cold air with gusty winds to 25 mph and wind chill readings will be between 15 and 35 degrees below zero. 

These temperatures will be very dangerous for anyone caught outside in the cold.  Hypothermia and frostbite can settle in very quickly and everyone needs to be aware.

Roads continue to be icy and snowpacked and the afternoon and morning rush hour are going to be rough around the metro area.  Drivers should exercise extreme caution.

All Thornton area school districts have announced they will be closed on Tuesday including Adams 12, Adams 14, Adams 50, Mapleton, and Brighton 27J.

Dangerous Arctic cold will be the main feature of the winter storm arriving today. Click the image for a larger version. (ThorntonWeather.com)

Dangerous Arctic cold will be the main feature of the winter storm arriving today. Click the image for a larger version. (ThorntonWeather.com)

Afternoon storm update, 2:30pm – Old Man Winter is really letting loose with the cold air today as the temperature continues to drop.  The afternoon commute is going to be a rough one as most roads are icy and snowpacked.

The commute home today is sure to be a rough one and residents need to remember to take it slow. 

Thornton saw a high temperature today of 26 degrees at 3:00am and it has been downhill from there.  As of this writing the mercury reads 9.0 degrees with wind chill values below zero.  

The downward trend will continue and we will be down to 3 degrees by 8:00pm and below zero by midnight.  Overnight we will see a low of around 3 degrees below zero and wind chills as low as 20 below. 

In terms of snow, we haven’t received very much – less than an inch in most areas.  Snow is expected to increase in intensity between 5:00pm and 10:00pm but accumulations won’t be anything extraordinary.  Thornton most likely will be looking at 3 to 5 inches total accumulation through tomorrow night. 

For parents of kids in Adams 12 Five Star School District, the district has announced that all after school activities are cancelled for today.  Additionally, due to the forecast extreme cold tomorrow, all schools will be closed tomorrow, Tuesday, February 1.  Be sure to visit the Adams 12 website for more details.

Original story, 7:10am – Freezing drizzle early this morning is signifying the start of a major change in Thornton’s weather for the next few days.  Snow will become widespread later today and temperatures are going to plummet to below zero leading to dangerous wind chill factors.

This morning we are already seeing some surfaces coated in ice as the drizzle freezes and sticks.  As the morning progresses the drizzle will change to snow and by the afternoon rush hour we could see an inch or two of the white stuff.

Overall this system is not a big snow maker for Thornton but it will be a lengthy event with snow falling through tonight and much of tomorrow.  The National Weather Service is forecasting 4 to 8 inches however it seems more likely most areas will be on the lighter side of that range. 

The snow coupled with the cold will cause travel conditions to deteriorate throughout the day today.  Roads will become icy and snowpacked and the commute this afternoon and tomorrow morning are likely to be rough ones.  A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect until 5:00am Tuesday (click here for the latest watches and warnings).

The real story with this storm is going to be the Arctic cold that is pushing into the state.  Thornton was at 26 degrees at 3:00am and that will be the high temperature for the day.  The mercury has already started to fall and that downward trend will continue and it will become dangerously cold for the next 48 hours or so. 

By 5:00pm the temperature downtown will have fallen to 15 degrees and overnight tonight the temperature will continue to fall to a low of 6 degrees below zero.  Temperatures will only warm a few degrees during the day on Tuesday as we are looking at a high temperature of right near zero.  This will be followed by a low Tuesday night as far as 16 degrees below zero.

Dangerous wind chill temperatures will be accompanying the plummeting mercury thanks to winds of 10 to 15 mph and gusts to 25 mph.  Wind chills will be in the single digits by this afternoon then as low as 20 degrees below zero Tuesday.  Overnight Tuesday we may see wind chills as far as an astonishing 30 degrees below zero!

These extreme temperatures present a very real danger to residents and appropriate precautions need to be taken.  Exposed skin could begin to experience frost bite in less than 30 minutes and hypothermia can set in quickly should someone be stuck outside for any length of time.  Be sure to follow the links to our Winter Weather Preparedness pages for more information on how to protect yourself and your family. 

We will be closely monitoring this system as this type of cold usually has a pretty significant impact.  You can get the latest Thornton forecast here and be sure to check our main page for any updates.  We also will be updating the Denver Weather Examiner regularly with the latest outlooks.

Winter Weather Education Series

Intro Winter Weather Preparedness Week
Part 1 Winter travel safety
Part 2 Watches…warnings…and advisories
Part 3 High winds
Part 4 Wind chill temperatures and hypothermia
Part 5 Avalanche safety
Review Winter Weather Preparedness Week review

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